Dunkirk – Amsterdam bikepacking (sort of)

My friends were already camping in Amsterdam whilst I was cycling to work on Friday morning and by the time I got to work I had an idea of possibly cycling to Amsterdam overnight (Friday – Saturday) from Dunkirk. Had a quick look at train tickets and ferry tickets, I didn’t hesitate in booking them.

I frantically cycled back home after work to get ready as much as possible for the trip as I only had two hours to make sure I had everything packed! and I didn’t much stuff that was pre-packed!

The ferry was leaving midnight and my train was to take 2.5h hours to Dover! Just before 8PM I left Redhill and was on my way to Dover ferry.

When I looked at the weather forecast and the wind directions, it seemed to be all in my favour…oh how wrong I was! When we got to Dunkirk, it was raining, not strongly, but it was enough to get wet shoes and I didn’t pack my overshoes! (I probably would have if I knew it was gonna rain at the start).

I left the ferry terminal at 3 AM and the next 80KM or so I stopped more frequently than I would have liked so, firstly stopped in a bus stop to put on my sealskinz socks (supposedly waterproof) and waterproof gloves. The socks turned out to be quite shitty at least for me! They just got drenched in water after a few hours and were holding water rather than breathing. Two other stops were for bakeries in the morning and then once the rain stopped to a light drizzle at around 6-7AM I found a goat cage in a little village which had benches, that looked perfect for a nap! The bench was wet, but I was tired enough not to care about this and just laid on the bench to sleep. When I got up, a goat was standing two meters away from me and he was staring at me!

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I reached the Breskens – Vlissingen ferry at 10 AM. The ferry seats weren’t too bad and I managed to grab another quick 20 minute nap whilst crossing over. From Vlissingen, I cycled for a bit and stopped in Middelburg, found a cafe that did some lunch and have a very nice and strong flat white. After devouring the food, I ordered another flat white with orange juice, downed those, got some water in my bottles and set off again, I spent about 45 minutes in total at the cafe, which wasn’t too bad, but could have spent less there, the next 100 KM went by rather quickly. Every 50km or so I stopped at a petrol station, to get some water, ice cream and a bit of food.

I must have reached Rotterdam at around 3-4PM, it is always lovely to go via the Benelux tunnel! At one of the petrol stations, the cashier noted my well tanned red arms! He was gobsmacked that I was cycling to Amsterdam from there, and was even more so surprised when I told him I’ll reach Amsterdam this evening! (I only had 60-70k to go).

Stocked up on bars and water, I was ready to tackle the last bit, this was pretty much the home run, I was still feeling good despite the fact that I have only slept for an hour within the past 30-something hours!

I reached Amsterdam (Zeeburg camping site) shortly past 8 PM, which made it an 18hour trip from Dunkirk.

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new bike

Rather than keeping my new sequoia, I ordered in a brand new carbon bike!

I’ve gotten myself a┬áCube Attain GTC SLT Disc Road Bike 2018 – hydraulic disc brakes, carbon frame, weights 8.4 kg.

Should do the job for transcontinental just fine I think! Can’t wait to get my hands on it and start doing some mileage!

 

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